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Day in Nairobi

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posts: 13
reviews: 2
Day in Nairobi

I have a trip booked to Kenya with my boyfriend and parents in September and have a free day to spend in Nairobi. We would like to do something for the day but not do too much or travel a great distance as we would like a bit of relaxation time at the hotel after our long flight and before our safari begins.

We were thinking of visiting Daphne Sheldrick’s Orphanage, which we understand is open for just 1 hour everyday and also the Giraffe Centre. We are stopping at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi and wonder if anyone could give me advice on how far it is to these places and also the best way of doing it. Should we book a driver and does anyone have any recommendations or should we try and book it through the tour company we are going on safari with, which is Somak?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Llandeilo, United...
posts: 232
reviews: 31
1. Re: Day in Nairobi

Hi, we stayed at the Serena Nairobi last November. We arrived early am on the KA flight from LHR and as we were going on safari the following day had to pack everything in to 1 day whilst jet lagged. The elephant orhanage is a must ! (www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/index.asp) If you have not fostered an elephant you will only be able to visit for the 11 ish viewing of the nursery and then the kindagarten milk feed - DO IT! The staff give an informative running commentary of the elephants inc. a lot of facts. You will be there for 1-2 hours. It is about 40 mins from the Serena (depending on traffic). (If you have fostered an elephant you can visit in privacy at 4pm ish for 'bedtime' and spend a bit more 1:1 time with your fostered elephant). I would suggest finding somewhere for a leisurely lunch in the area (do an internet search for posh accomodations in the Karen district - there are quite a few small private hotels that look as if they could offer a super lunch). After lunch you can drive a short distance to to Karen Blixen's house - bit dilapidated but worth a visit - there is a coffee shop there. Close by is the giffaffe centre where you can hand feed Laura and the other inmates from a raised platform (great for adults and children). The Ngong Hills are about 16km away and walking in the area is only recommended with an armed guard. So Finch Hattons grave may not be an option. Alternatively, the elephant orphange is on the edge of Nairobi NP (loads of info available on the internet), so you could have a lie in, go to the orhanage and then visit the NP. Have a great time in Kenya! Hope this helps a bit - basically you will be back at the Serena within an hour from any of these places, HB

Brussels, Belgium
posts: 1,081
2. Re: Day in Nairobi


we went to both places last year,if you contact george at www.steenboksafaris.com and tell him your a friend of myself (richard) i am sure he will give you a good deal,contact is info@steenboksafaris.com

he is based in nbo and both doable in a few hours


Bournemouth, United...
posts: 208
reviews: 20
3. Re: Day in Nairobi


we had a day in nairobi in feb this year, we also were with Somak and they arranged a days' outing to the Elephant Orphanage lunch at Carnivores and an afternoon game drive in the Nairobi national park. we had previously visited the Giraffe Centre and Karen Bixens' museum.

The Elephant Orphange is a must and the Giraffe Centre is good for getting real close-up to Giraffes.

Carnivores is a great BBQ type restaurant but probably far too much to eat at lunchtime (we missed our evening meal 'cos we were still so full!), as for Karen Bixens' I don't personally think there was much to see.

If arriving on the early morning KA flight its' quite a tight schedule to try and fit in a full days' itinery especially if your room is not ready at the Serena before 10.30am.


posts: 13
reviews: 2
4. Re: Day in Nairobi


Thank you all very much for your helpful advice. Our flight actually gets in about 9pm the evening before so we do have the whole day but just didn’t want to do too much. I am not a particularly big eater, especially of meat, neither a great fan of bbq food so don’t think would enjoy eating at Carnivores much. Is there anywhere not too far from the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Centre that anyone would recommend for a light lunch? Does anyone know what the foods like at the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden Restaurant?


Carmel, California
posts: 2,398
reviews: 11
5. Re: Day in Nairobi

Very close to the Giraffe Centre and Sheldrick is a craft complex called Utamaduni. There's a restaurant in their garden patio that's a good spot for a light, casual lunch. I haven't been to the Blixen Coffee Garden but that sounds like a good place as well.

West Palm Beach...
posts: 206
reviews: 14
6. Re: Day in Nairobi

What is the best way to visit the Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Center? Should I book a tour through my safari operator, or can we just take a taxi?

posts: 13,359
7. Re: Day in Nairobi

Your tour operator can certainly arrange sightseeing: Karen Blixen House, Giraffe Center, then by 11am visit Sheldrick Ellee Orphanage, concluding with lunch at Carnivore (meat) or Tamarind (fish/seafood) or any other.

Their fee will include vehicle/driver, entry fees and maybe lunch. If not lunch, the price paid direct to restaurant is reasonable.

If not using your tour operator, the hotel's Tour Desk can coordinate this for you.

posts: 460
reviews: 7
8. Re: Day in Nairobi

e did most of these places at the beginning of August.

Definately go to the Elephant Orphanage and make sure you give Blind Max the Rhino some extra attention, he loses out a lot to the baby eles. It is open to the public for an hour late morning or if you foster one of the eles on line (about £25) you can visit during Foster parents hours at around 5:30 pm when it is quieter. Entry is free in the afternoon but everyone makes a small donation whilst there.

The Giraffe Centre is also a must. Spend and hour or so there for some great photo oportunities and lots of fun feeding the Giraffes.

Don't bother with the Karen Blixen Coffee Garden as a visit, although it is a good place for lunch.

Go to the Karen Blixen Museum just up the road instead. Beautiful grounds and a surprisingly interesting tour round the house. The visit will keep you occupied for about an hour.

Carnivore restaurant did not live up to it’s reputation for us but if you are in a large group it would probably be good fun. The food is good value for money.

For transport I would hire a private cab and negotiate a rate for the whole day. This will probably work out a lot cheaper than using SOMAK.

If you want to read our blog for the two days we spent in Nairobi follow these links




West Palm Beach...
posts: 206
reviews: 14
9. Re: Day in Nairobi

Thanks a lot. The idea of hiring a cab for a day sounds good.

posts: 1
10. Re: Day in Nairobi

You can also try The Kenya National Museum. There is plenty to behold.